The Senate amendment to the new Defense Appropriations Act would explicitly prohibit the U.S. government from subjecting those in its custody to cruel, inhumane, or degrading treatment or punishment. It’s pretty straightforward stuff. Yet despite a rousing 90-9 vote for its passage, there are still dark forces at work trying to subvert the intent of this measure, the language of which must survive the conference committee in the House of Representatives. If the morality perverters have their way, there will be a carve-out to exempt the CIA from this prohibition. They are seeking this with the express knowledge that sadists (acting under the color of CIA authority) have been responsible for the horrific abuses which made necessary further action and clarification of existing law. This exemption would in fact turn the measure on its head to AUTHORIZE torture by a particular agency, diametrically contrary to the amendment’s intent. They might as well appoint a “Torture Czar” and make it a cabinet level position. Actually, for all practical purposes we already have a torture czar . . . it’s the Vice President of the United States, Dick Cheney. Yes, it is Cheney himself who is PERSONALLY pressuring the conference committee to rescind the McCain amendment in this way (just as he was pressuring CIA analysts in the cooking of the justification for war with Iraq). It has been Cheney himself who has taken a lead role from the beginning, talking in 2002 about the need to revive the “dark arts.” Since they could no longer keep the abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and elsewhere classified, they have prosecuted a couple of selected patsies for these crimes, while their agency handlers right up through the chain of command have continued in their unconscionable ways. This is not to let the president himself off the hook. In the first place there is Bush’s own overreaching lust for absolute dictatorial power. Indeed, his longtime attorney and ally, Alberto Gonzales, put his name on the infamous Jan 25, 2002 memo, referring to the Geneva convention as “quaint.” But what many people do not realize is that the heart of that reprehensible legal pretzel job was drafted by David Addington, the staff attorney closely associated with Dick Cheney. And would anybody like to guess Mr. Addington’s current title in the White House? That’s right. He just replaced the indicted “Scooter” Libby as Cheney’s Chief of Staff. There isn’t a “talking head” out there not drinking their own “talking points Kool-Aid” who believes the Fitzgerald investigation is remotely close to being finished. If anything, the allegations in the Libby indictment, which identify Cheney as the one who specifically advised Libby that Valerie (Plame) Wilson worked under the covert wing of the CIA, suggest that the Vice President is at least one of the big game that the Special Counsel is still pursuing. The tight-lipped Fifth Amendment-type reactions given by Cheney in the aftermath of the indictment to explain his own role in the leak scandal do nothing to dispel the intrigue. Instead the administration is circling the torture-advocate wagons even tighter with the promotion of Addington, while the shadow of Traitorgate continues to darken over their heads. Especially now, with the chickens of treason coming home to roost in the nest of the chicken hawks themselves, this is the last time in history for the authors of torture as official American policy to be allowed to push for largesse for even wider atrocities. We must all immediately contact our senators and members of the House of Representatives who might have influence on the conference committee to demand that the overwhelmingly approved language of the McCain amendment remain intact in the final Defense Appropriations Bill.
ACTION FORM: (McCain Amendment)
We must also recognize that this is profoundly related to the selection of a replacement for Harriet Miers as Supreme Court nominee. Remember — one of the talking points of the neocons (before they turned on her for not being sufficiently and demonstrably loyal to their causes) was that she would support the president’s policies in the deceptively dubbed “war on terror.” But the universal common denominator of all Bush appointees is their submissive endorsement of the unlimited expansion of the president’s power to do whatever he likes in defiance of Congress and even the people themselves. In his own confirmation hearing Roberts refused to say (among other things) whether the Congress would have the power to stop a war if the president ignored their authority. That case might come before him, he argued, as if he knew something we didn’t. And it most certainly will if Bush is not stopped from making any more such appointments. Roberts and his ilk will not legislate from the bench (as if that were the boogie man to be feared). No, instead they will UN-legislate from the bench, perhaps even to remove the McCain language from American law by court order on the grounds that it would interfere with the power of the president to play God. Remember also that in his first day on the bench of the high court Roberts left the sheep’s clothing in his chambers to ask aggressively why they should not overturn the TWICE-expressed will of the people in the Oregon “Right to Die” case. For all of these reasons we must demand that the next nominee to the Supreme Court be a true moderate and a true nonpartisan. One of the truly beautiful things about Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is that the American people can look at his work and agree that it will be based entirely on the facts and the law. Even opposing attorneys of those he has indicted must concede that he is unwavering in his fairness and his integrity, favoring neither side by any inherent bias. We can demand no less from the next justice to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
ACTION FORM: (Supreme Court)
If we all speak out, we can remove the Vice President from his position as the torture czar. It’s not as if he doesn’t have enough other black hats to wear; he’s already serving in the capacity of treason czar as it is. Sheriff Fitzgerald is working on that last one. The rest is up to we the people. or to get no more simply email to firstname.lastname@example.org